Monday 15 October 2018

Total Produce acquires 50pc of California company

Total Produce’s Carl McCann
Total Produce’s Carl McCann
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Global fruit and vegetable distributor Total Produce has purchased a 50pc stake in California based fresh produce company The Fresh Connection increasing its presence in the US market.

Founded in 1994, The Fresh Connection is one of North America's premier produce export companies with sales last year of approximately $165m.

The company is engaged in the year-round distribution and export of fresh fruits and vegetables to customers in more than 35 countries.

"We are delighted to become shareholders in The Fresh Connection. This transaction further broadens our US presence and provides us with strategic access to other key markets," Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce, said.

Hank Miller will continue as co-shareholder and CEO of The Fresh Connection, while Will Mehrten will continue as president of the company.

"This transaction will further strengthen the business we have developed and grown over many years.

We believe our partnership will create opportunities for The Fresh Connection, which will benefit all stakeholders, including our growers, suppliers, employees and, of course, our customers," Hank Miller, CEO of The Fresh Connection said.

Total Produce made a €39m pre-tax profit in the first half of 2017, an 11.8pc increase on the first half of 2016. Revenue was 12.2pc higher at €2.15bn in the period, according to the company’s half year results released in September.

Earlier this year the company paid €28.4m to increase its shareholding in the Canada-based Oppenheimer group from 35pc to 65pc. The Oppenheimer Group, or Oppy, as it's also known, has annual sales of about C$1bn (€671m), and provides fresh produce to retailers, wholesalers and food services customers throughout the US and Canada.

While the company spent €60m on acquisitions last year, including €17m in contingent consideration. It bought a 65pc stake in Los Angeles-based Progressive Produce for an initial €28m, with a contingent consideration of €10.5m.

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